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Co-operative Education

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Elvis standing in front of Simon Fraser University holding a camera
Elvis standing in front of Simon Fraser University holding a camera

My role as a Communications Assistant has it’s ups and downs especially during busy seasons of the school year where many events run consecutively one after the other. Time management and efficiency are nothing new for us students because we constantly must meet deadlines and make sure we balance work with school. Here are some tricks that I’ve used to help me improve efficiency and develop excellent time management throughout my Co-op term.

Make Tasks Interesting and be Interested in Doing Them

There will come times when mundane tasks become a part of your workflow and you may be tempted to put it off until the end. Don’t worry, I used to do that too! A trick that I use to make things interesting is to have a growth mindset and to gamify the tasks slightly. This might sound cliché in a way because the phrase “growth mindset” is tossed around a lot nowadays, but how I approach repetitive tasks is I create challenges for myself until it’s sort of like a game. For example, posting social media content each day can be repetitive and extremely boring. But instead of just mindlessly posting content with minimal effort, I would try to create challenges with some form of metric. In this case, the metric could be likes, shares, comments, views, impressions etc. Gamifying activities can be a great way to learn and encourage further exploration. By using that method, I’m able to extract more learning opportunities from repetitive tasks and stay interested in mundane tasks.

Find Out What Tasks you Enjoy Doing the Most

As a student, we will always find certain topics more interesting than others. When we become interested in a topic, doing homework related to that topic seems less of a chore. Using this approach to work is the same concept because there are tasks that we enjoy doing more than others. I would often check my daily tasks and rank them according to interest level. This allows me to visualize my efficiency when completing tasks because naturally we’re more efficient at doing tasks that we enjoy doing. It is also a great way gauge how much time to allocate for each task.

Alternate Tasks

Sometimes, the most efficient way of completing tasks in general is to have balance. For me, I like to alternate my tasks depending on interest level. For example, if I were given two tasks (task A and task B) with a deadline 2 days away, I would alternate between the two depending on which one I’m more interested in doing. Let’s say task A is something I enjoy doing the most. Then I would often start with task B to get it out of the way so I can get to task A. In my mind, I see task A as a reward to finishing task B, which gives me the motivation to get task B done quickly. This concept has helped me a lot with my workflow, and I’ve noticed an increase in my efficiency with work.

This 8-month Co-op term really helped to solidify my time management skills and efficiency because I was able to explore different work methods to fit my workflow. However, once I found a routine that worked for me, I stuck to it and began applying the same methods to other aspects of life whether that be school or hobbies. I hope the methods I mentioned come in handy and don’t be afraid to try different methods to come up with your own strategy!

Co-operative Education

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